The MAC with One A Turns 100
The MAC With One A
Long before 1997, when Rider University joined the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), the Broncs were part of the MAC (Middle Atlantic Conference).
The MAC has been around since 1912 and is celebrating its 100th year with the naming of the MAC top athletes of all time to the MAC 100 Century Teams.
Voting is now taking place for the MAC 100 Fall Sports Century Teams. Click here to vote for the Rider men's soccer players (1912-1970, 1971-1992) and cross country runner (1912-1974) who are on the Fall ballot.
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Voting will take place for the Fall team until November 8.
The MAC has three eras. Rider belonged to the first era, 1912 to 1972-73, the formation of the conference. Rider joined the MAC during 1966-67 school year.
Rider was also part of the 10 "larger schools" that left the MAC in 1973 to form the East Coast Conference.
While in the MAC the Broncs were in the University Division, with the "smaller institutions" in the College Division.
Once Rider and the ECC teams left, the MAC was split into four sub-conferences (Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast) for the second era, until another group left the MAC in 1992 to form the Centennial Conference.
The third era is from 1993-94 to present day, operating in an umbrella format under the Freedom, Commonwealth and Middle Atlantic Conferences.
Rider's time in the MAC was highlighted by the outstanding play of soccer star Bobby Smith, basketball great Steve Jefferson, the running of Bob Schultz, the wrestling of Mario Ianni and the 1967 baseball team going to the College World Series.
Smith was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in August, 2007 and had his number 10 retired by the Rider Soccer team in November, 2007.
Smith was one of America's pioneers in the development of professional soccer, and the North American Soccer League in the 1970's. Until the late 1990's, Smith owned records he established with Rider from 1969-1972 including career goals (46) and goals in a season (16). A two-time All-MAC West Division Most Valuable Player, Bobby Smith was selected by the NASL's Philadelphia Atoms and as a rookie, won second team All-NASL status. In 1975, he was the only American born and trained player on the 33-team contingent of NASL first team, second team and honorable mention standouts.
He later landed with America's most popular team, the New York Cosmos and was a starting fullback and star on the same team that included Pele of Brazil. The Cosmos won the 1977 and 1978 NASL championships.
Jefferson, a Rider Hall of Famer, graduated third in career rebounds (773 in 78 games) and is still sixth highest despite playing just three years at Rider. He is still third at Rider in career rebounds per game (9.9). In his final Rider game, a MAC playoff lose to Saint Joseph's, he compiled 20 points and 20 rebounds.
Jefferson held the Rider record for rebounds in a game (20) for 37 years before current NBA player Jason Thompson broke it in 2008. Jefferson had 20 rebounds in a game twice, vs. La Salle and vs. St. Joseph's in MAC games. He held the Rider record for rebounds in a season (328) for 37 years until it was broken by Thompson in 2008.
Jefferson's teams were 16-10 (7-3 MAC), 20-6 (8-2 MAC West) and 15-11 (8-2 MAC West). Jefferson was the team MVP in 1971 and in 1972 he led the team in rebounding (12.1) and was second in scoring (17.2). Jefferson had 33 points and 12 rebounds in a victory over Drexel and had 30 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Gettysburg.
Schultz was named Rider's top track performer for the beginning of the "modern era" (1970-1975) after setting Rider indoor records for 50 yard high hurdles, 60 yard high hurdles, 70 yard high hurdles and long jump, and ran the first leg of the record-setting shuttle hurdles relay.
In spring track, he set Rider records in the 100 yards 220, 120 high hurdles, 440 intermediate hurdles, long jump and decathlon. He ran on the record setting 440-relay in 1972.
Ianni won his 126 pound weight class at the MAC Championships as a freshman, won the MAC at 134 as a sophomore and a junior and as a senior was an East Coast Conference (ECC) champion, the first year of the new conference.
A Rider Hall of Famer, Ianni was a three-time National qualifier.
One of only two Rider wrestlers to win four conference championships, his career mark of 43-7-1 represented a Bronc mark for victories (since broken). As a junior, he starred in a 15-0-1 campaign, the first-ever-undefeated season for the wrestling program. He appeared in three NCAA Tournaments.
The baseball team was just joining the MAC when it won the 1967 District II Championship and earned a trip to Omaha, finishing fifth in the nation with a 31-8 record under Hall of Fame coach Tom Petroff.
That team was led by pitcher Bob Koehler.
Koehler was the horse that the 1967 Rider baseball team rode to the College World Series. An All-American pitcher with a 10-1 record, Koehler was drafted by the Washington Senators. Koehler used his pitching arm to play "A" level minor league baseball for just three weeks before being moved up to "AA", just two steps away from the major leagues.
Since the MAC Rider has belonged to the ECC and the Northeast Conference before joining the MAAC. Through the years, the Broncs have managed to find success in whatever conference they were in, whether it had one A or two.